Listed generously at 6-1, Aaron Brooks came into the Summer League as a supporting player in the Houston Rockets point guard controversy. With two point guards, Mike James and Rafer Alston, already locked up, the Rockets shocked a lot of people by selecting Brooks with their 26th overall selection. In the days following the draft, it seemed inevitable that a deal would be announced, but nothing surfaced. Nearly a month later, Brooks has put himself firmly in the center of this situation by earning the T-Mobile Rookie of the Month Award in Vegas. With Steve Francis now entering the picture for Houston, it is clear that they will be making another move, but the question is: will it include Brooks?
No one may have proven more during this Summer League than Aaron Brooks. He showed the shot making ability and range of a seasoned NBA player. Brooks can punish opponents when left open, and was lights-out from three-point range all week. Brooks ability to hit the NBA three should fit in well next to Tracy McGrady should the two ever get the chance to play together. One thing that Brooks did show in Vegas was a propensity to take off balance shots from the perimeter. On the vast majority of his touches, Brooks either broke his man down off the dribble or shot the ball before his man could get a hand up.
What made Brooks offense game seem so seasoned was the way he used his quickness in Houstons offense. He moved surprisingly well off the ball, freeing himself by using screens and cutting backdoor for open looks at an alarming rate. This uncanny ability to create separation made Brooks lack of height a non-factor, which is a very promising sign for a player of his stature. However, he couldnt compensate for his size around the rim. He got to the rim with little resistance, but wasnt finishing as consistently as Nate Robinson or Jose Juan Barea. He doesnt have touch like Barea or explosiveness like Robinson, but falls somewhere between the two. He will need to develop a go to move when driving to the rim to be effective on the NBA level.
As a point guard, Brooks showed some inconsistency, interspersing his good decisions with bad ones. His turnover numbers were somewhat misleading, as his teammates dropped a handful of passes around the rim that a player like Yao Ming would have gobbled up easily. His teammates dont shoulder all of blame for his turnovers though, as Brooks made showed his lack of maturity frequently. At times, Brooks almost seemed to be in too big of a hurry going to the rim, leading to poor decisions with the ball. These problems will be remedied over time as Brooks gains experience and learns how to finish without needing as much space as he was trying to create by rushing to the rim.
Brooks showed above average intensity on the defense end, but didnt create a lot of turnovers. At this juncture, it appears that Rafer Alston and John Lucas III are the two most likely candidates to leave Houston, leaving Brooks playing the role of third point guard. With James and Francis occasionally playing at the two, Brooks could even see the minutes of a backup. While Brooks earned more playing time than anyone could have expected in Vegas, he still faces an uphill battle for time in Houston.